How to Buy

We want to give you a basic road map to specifying your hardwood floor.  When you have followed the following steps you will be ready to call us to discuss your project and product choice.  We can answer any further questions you have, help you estimate the amount of flooring you need, discuss the time frame for shipment, and prepare a final quote with destination shipping costs.  We will also discuss with you the jobsite conditions and any precautions that need to be taken to ensure a successful installation.

With regard to pricing, you can refer to our website prices but bear in mind that these are for minimum orders of 500 SF.  We can supply smaller quantities but setup charges will apply.  We keep a substantial inventory of unfinished flooring but prefinished floors are nonstocking.  Please allow 3-4 weeks for prefinished floors or for unfinished flooring not currently in stock.

Choose A Species

Pick a wood whose grain and color are appealing to you. Do you like the quiet grain of Maple, the bold appearance of Oak, or the subtle grain of Pecan? The cream and brown variation of Hickory, the pink and brown of Oak, or the red of Cherry? Another appearance issue is hardness. All the woods we use are suitable for flooring but Hickory, Pecan, and Maple are significantly harder than Cherry, Yellow Poplar, and Southern Pine. These latter woods will show more marks from usage over time.

Choose Unfinished or Prefinished Floors

This is a complex decision based on appearance, design, and jobsite conditions.  Prefinished flooring has the virtue of being ready to walk on as soon as it is nailed down, so time to completion is much faster than with a site-finished multi-coat floor, which often requires days and many trips by the finisher to the jobsite.  Because the prefinished floor has a finish applied under factory conditions the finish and stain, where used, are more uniform than can be achieved by site-applied finishes.  And UV-cured factory finishes are typically harder than solvent-based urethane site finishes.  On the other hand, prefinished floors must be installed more carefully than unfinished.  While a slight variance in color, or appearance, or dimension in an unfinished piece of flooring can be handled unobtrusively by the finisher, prefinished floors admit of very little adjustment after being nailed down.  Thus each piece needs to be carefully examined for overall fit in the floor prior to installation.

The advantage of an unfinished floor is that it has a smooth, flush surface throughout.  Prefinished floors have a small microbevel on all four edges that gives a definition to each piece and that presents something of a maintenance challenge in active households.  In addition, unfinished floors offer a homeowner complete flexibility with regard to color and gloss level in their floor.  With an unfinished floor you have a true custom job matched by your finisher exactly to your tastes.

Choose a Finish Color

Carroll Hardwood offers all its prefinished floors in a clear satin finish. Hickory and Rift & Quartered Red and White Oak are also offered in a dark stain that highlights the natural appearance of the wood grain while providing greater uniformity in the appearance of your floor.  With unfinished flooring you have complete design flexibility in working with your finisher to achieve the stain color you desire.

Choose Plainsawn or Quartersawn

This choice has both a visual and practical element. Plainsawn flooring has the “cathedral arch” grain typically associated with plank flooring. Quartersawn flooring presents a more ‘vertical grain’ appearance. Quartersawn also exhibits a traditionally European design element while plainsawn is more associated with American construction. From a practical standpoint quartersawn flooring is more stable than plainsawn on job sites where wood flooring is exposed to conditions such as humid crawl spaces, radiant heat, nearby bodies of water, exceptionally low wintertime relative humidities, and the like. You may want to discuss your job site situation with your builder.

Choose a Width & Length

Carroll Hardwood  prefinished flooring comes in face widths of 2 1/4″, 3″, 4″, & 5″.  Unfinished floors are in widths as narrow as 1 1/2″ and as wide as 8″.  Wide plank floors evoke a country house look. They work well in large rooms or in homes with an open design. Many homeowners will use two or more widths to introduce a visually appealing variance in their floor design. 2 ¼” strip flooring, popular at the turn of the century and again in the post-war period, presents a linear, urban design element. It also tends to make rooms feel larger. There is in addition a practical aspect to this decision. Wider plank floors in plainsawn are more sensitive to moisture conditions and changes in relative humidity through the seasons. Consequently they will exhibit more change in flatness and width than strip floors. Think carefully about your home’s location when choosing wide plank floors.

Standard lengths are 1′-7′ nested in 7′ bundles for unfinished and 7′ boxes for prefinished.  Many customers initially think they want longer lengths.  But the reality is that once rugs and furnishings are in place in even large rooms, the effect of longer lengths is, to a varying degree, lost.    Nevertheless, where a customer believes long lengths will show to effect, we can provide them.  Typical customer specifications are 1′-10′, 2′-10′, 3′-12′, etc.  In these cases each length is wrapped separately instead of being nested and you receive an exact tally by length.  The convention in hardwood flooring is a length is tallied -6″, +5″, since the pieces themselves are random in length.  Long lengths in prefinished are problematic from a technical point of view, but we will consult with you on width and length if that is what you need.  Long lengths are more technically practical in unfinished flooring.

Choose a Grade

Select flooring is more formal in appearance, free of knots, wormholes, and other such characteristics. Character flooring is specifically designed to present a rustic appearance by including sound knots, wormholes, birdpeck, streaks, and color variation. This rustic effect is greatly modified when used with a darker stain. Both grades of flooring incorporate only sound and usable product.

Choose Your Mouldings

Matching wood mouldings may be required to finish the borders of your floor area. Where the wood floor meets other floor coverings at the same level a T-mould is often used. Where the wood floor is above the adjacent floor covering a reducer is used. On balconies, overlooks, or step downs, bullnose moulding is used.  We also supply stair parts to match your flooring.

Ready to order?

Answering the above questions will lead you to the right floor. Now measure the rooms where the flooring will be installed, add a 5% cutting allowance, and you are ready to order. Give us a call.  We will prepare a final quote with freight cost and sales tax where applicable.  While we believe in convenient on-line ordering as much as anyone, we believe a personal consultation on your hardwood floor will help ensure a successful installation and long term happiness with your new hardwood floor.


Carroll Hardwood flooring is ¾” solid wood flooring designed to be nailed or stapled to a wood subfloor on or above grade. Detailed installation recommendations and guidelines have been developed by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and these must be followed to maintain our warranty.  Installation techniques not specifically recommended by the NWFA will void our warranty.  Please see our Links on the home page to access the NWFA website where installation guidelines are located.  We will provide customers with a username and password for use with that website.